Member of a well-known Moscow merchant family. Emigrated with his parents to France after the 1917 October Revolution. Organized the Russian Basketball Club in Paris.
Trained the Rumanian national basketball team before World War II. During the German occupation of France, became a very active fighter in the French resistance. Became a colonel in the British Army under the name Val Williams. Saved the lives of many allied pilots.
Received several French, British and American military decorations.